Mayberry Days veteran Ronnie Schell will perform this afternoon at the Historic Earle Theatre.
Schell, a longtime friend and costar with the man best known as Gomer Pyle, will present “A Tribute to Jim Nabors” at 2 p.m.
On Nov. 30 last year, Nabors died at age 87.
Schell said that he and Nabors worked together off and on for more than 50 years. Not only did they have that time on the TV show together (“Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”) but after that they made many appearances together across the country.
“Jim would sing, and I would do comedy,” said Schell. “He was like the older brother I never had.”
Nabors had a blowout bash with about 200 guests for his 80th birthday eight years ago.
“Someone said to him, ‘So you know Ronnie Schell?’ He said, ‘Hell, I raised the boy.’”
The two were only a year and a half apart in age, but Schell admits he might have been a little behind in maturity when they first met.
“I was very, very saddened when my friend Jim Nabors passed away,” Schell said before Christmas last year. “I’m the last remaining player from the ‘Gomer Pyle’ show.”
This afternoon he will pay tribute to his friend with stories, reminiscences and laughter.
“I will tell the story of his life, with yours truly in there as part of it,” said Schell.
He also plans to show clips from the opening show of “The Jim Nabors Hour” which he said came at the height of Jim’s popularity — the show ran from 1968 to 1971.
This will be Schell’s sixth appearance at Mayberry Days. He has done a couple of one-hour comedy shows. Schell said he would do a little material from last year’s show, as well as throw in some new lines.
Ronnie Schell appeared in two episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show.” In 1966 he was Jim Martin, the director, in “The Foster Lady.” In 1968 he played Bernie the furrier in “Emmett’s Anniversary.”
He performed in 92 episodes of “Gomer Pyle,” two episodes of “The Jim Nabors Hour” and has performed the voices of several cartoon characters over the years. His lengthy credentials can be viewed at www.imdb.com.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.